Lawrence Block: Telling Lies for Fun & Profit

A Kindle Sample Review

Subtitle: A Manual for Fiction Writers

Sue Grafton states in the introduction that she refers to this book before starting any project. Her favorite advice from the book includes: “writing to please yourself”, and “daily work-commitment” through page-quotas.

The book branches off from a column Block wrote for “Writer’s Digest”.

In the first chapter Block talks about that it’s not enough to want to be a writer, you have to (want to) write something. According to him, one has to be able to read and enjoy the genre one is going to write it. More than sympathizing with the characters, one has to sympathize with the author of those characters. As with the monthly columns, he takes writing great novels a little bit on faith, hoping that “sooner or later [he] will get it right”.

Chapter 2 goes deeper into the aspect of acquiring knowledge of related works in the field, which in his case means reading a ton of magazines and books in the given genre. Block was buying back issues of all notable publications and read them cover to cover, the good and the bad, which he was gradually getting better at identifying. Block further suggest to “outline what you’ve read” in order to “increase the effectiveness of your reading”.